HomeZone Green Zone
Save Energy and Money Today
Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. And each year, electricity generated by fossil fues for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars. And as for the road, transportation accounts for 67% of all U.S. oil consumption. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to save energy and money at home and in your car. Start making small changes today (see below). To cut your energy use more significantly see the Long-Term Savings Tips on this page below.
The key to achieving these savings in your home is a whole-house energy efficiency plan. To take a whole-house approach, view your home as an energy system with interdependent parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace—it’s a heat-delivery system that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a network of ducts. Even a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient furnace will waste a lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, windows, and doors are not properly sealed and insulated. Taking a whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely.
Energy-efficient improvements not only make your home more comfortable, they can yield long-term financial rewards. Reduced utility bills more than make up for the higher price of energy-efficient improvements over their lifetimes. In addition, your home could bring in a higher price when you sell.
Tips to Save Energy Today: Easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy.
• Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs with the ENERGY STAR® label.
• Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
• Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
• Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F.
• Take short showers instead of baths.
• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
• Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline.
• Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
• Periodically visit this site for more energy-saving ideas.
Long term investment tips: These tips require more of an investment but can pay off big in the long run.
• One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic.
• Installing high-performance windows will improve your home’s energy performance. The benefits of added comfort and improved aesthetics and functionality make this investment worth it to you. Many window technologies are available that are worth considering.
• Radiant heat barriers and reflective cool touch roof coatings should all be considered for new roof construction. Consider a free in-home consultation from HOMEZONE for more information about these options.
• Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you.
• You can lose up to 60% of your heated air before it reaches the register if your ducts aren’t insulated and travel through unheated spaces such as the attic or crawlspace. Get a qualified professional to help you insulate and repair ducts.
• If you use electricity to heat your home and live in a moderate climate, consider installing an energy-efficient heat pump system.
• Install a new energy-efficient furnace to save money over the long term. Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels.
• Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels.
• When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label to find a dishwasher that uses less water and 41% less energy than required by federal standards.
• Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying a new refrigerator. Select a new refrigerator that is the right size for your household. Top freezer models are more energy efficient than side-by-side models. Features like icemakers and water dispensers, while convenient, will increase energy use.
• ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 50% less energy than standard washers. Most full-sized ENERGY STAR washers use 15 gallons of water per load, compared to the 32.5 gallons used by a new standard machine. ENERGY STAR models also spin the clothes better, resulting in less drying time. When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will save the wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
• Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
• Consider buying a highly fuel-efficient vehicle. A fuel efficient vehicle, a hybrid vehicle, or an alternative fuel vehicle could save you a lot at the gas pump and help the environment. See the Fuel Economy Guide (www.fueleconomy.gov) for more on buying a new fuel-efficient car or truck.
*Information for this site was obtained through references located in the reference section of the following booklet. For additional information you may download a free copy of the Energy Savers book below available from the US Dept of Energy.
NOTICE: Neither HomeZone Improvements LLC, nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by HomeZone Improvements LLC. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HomeZone Improvements, LLC or any agency thereof.